Why Not Christianity?
The following excerpts are best understood if they are read in order.
Maybe you're here because you are passionate about your Christian faith, but you feel like there is something missing. You've seen some inconsistencies between church doctrine and the scriptures and you are hungry for the truth.
Maybe you're a Christian who is convinced that the law has been done away with, and you're here to solidify that belief by testing this information to the word of God.
Regardless of where you stand, I'm glad you're here. I understand how unsettling, and exciting, it can be to question your beliefs and deepen your relationship with God.
The information below will talk a lot about the "law of God". When it speaks of the law, it is referring to the commandments that God gave his people in the first 5 books of the Bible- the Torah.
I spent the majority of my life in the Christian church. I used to believe that Jesus abolished the law upon his death and resurrection, and that it was no longer required of believers to obey. My mind began to change on this topic after I started studying the Bible for myself and comparing it to what I was being taught in church.
I began to wonder: If our goal as Christians is to walk as Jesus walked, why do our lives look so different from his? Jesus obeyed the law perfectly. He kept the Sabbath from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset (Luke 4:16). He only ate clean animals (Leviticus 11). He wore tassels with a cord of blue on the four corners of his garment (Matthew 9:20)- just to name a few.
I began to see how integral the law was to the full gospel, including the role it plays in end times prophecy and eternity. Through obedience to the law I began to experience freedom and blessing, which was a far cry from the burden and curse Christianity promised it would bring me. I realized how little I knew about my Jewish Messiah and I began to deconstruct the box that I had put God in. I opened my heart and mind to seeing things a different way by asking God to allow traditions of man to fall away until only His word stood.
The following concepts and resources serve as a starting point in your exploration of the importance of Torah for followers of Jesus. It's not an exhaustive study, but it points you in the right direction. We understand that it's not our job to convince you that what we share here is true. We believe that you are here for a reason and if you ask God to show you the truth, He will. We encourage you to use your Bible as you read through the information on this website. We don't want you to take our word for it, everything you need is in the word of God.
If you would like to connect with someone from Torah Rocks who can discuss these ideas with you further and encourage you in your pursuit of Truth, please contact us. There is no cost and no strings attached. You can communicate with us via email, text, or call. We are a group of people who are seeking to fulfill the two greatest commandments: Love God and love others. We'd love to connect with you.
Does the law save us?
In the Christian church we are often taught that it's either law or grace. However, the Bible says that it's both. Obedience is an expression of our salvation, not the means by which we are saved. We have been saved by grace, through no work of our own (Ephesians 2:8). Once we have been saved, we are called to a life of good works because we see the goodness of our Creator and we trust that His ways are better than our own.
"What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead." James 2:14-26
Law and Grace are inseparable.
We must be like the Bereans in Acts 17 and test everything we are taught to the word of God. We see Israel forgetting the law many times in the Bible. They end up replacing it with customs that were adopted by their pagan neighbors. It's not too far fetched to consider that Christianity could be wrong about a concept as large as this one. On judgement day we will each be responsible for our own walk, not our pastors, not our parents, not our spouse. It's our job to seek God with our whole heart and mind with the time we are given on earth.
"O LORD, my strength and my stronghold, my refuge in the day of trouble, to you shall the nations come from the ends of the earth and say: “Our fathers have inherited nothing but lies, worthless things in which there is no profit." Jeremiah 16:19
What did Jesus think about the law?
I once had a pastor tell me that Jesus broke God's law sometimes. She cited Mark 2:23-28 where Jesus picks grain to eat on the Sabbath. The Pharisees rebuked him for "breaking" the Sabbath. There are two important concepts we must understand about this passage.
The first is that if Jesus broke any part of the law, he would not have been a perfect sacrifice for our sins. Sin is transgression of the law (1 John 3:4). Scripture tells us that he was a sinless sacrifice (1 Peter 2:22). Then why did the Pharisees claim he broke the Sabbath?
The second concept is that the religious leaders of Jesus' day had made their own set of "laws". They created these traditions of man to build fences around the law of God. Unfortunately, they often caused them to forsake the law of God in order to hold fast to the traditions of man. Mark 7:1-23 is the perfect example. The Pharisees rebuked Jesus and his disciples for not doing the ceremonial hand washing before they ate. This law can not be found in the Torah- it is simply a man made tradition. Jesus rebukes them for forsaking the commandments of God for the sake of their tradition.
The same goes for picking grain on the Sabbath day. There is no commandment restricting people from getting food if they are truly in need.
Deuteronomy 13:1-5 includes the test of a true prophet. It says that if a prophet comes and teaches you to disobey the law of God, he is a false prophet. If Jesus came teaching against the law of God, according to God's own standards, we should not accept him as a true prophet. Thankfully, from a Biblical and historical perspective, we know that Jesus did in fact obey the law and teach others to obey it as well.
Who is the church/ who is the law for?
After the Israelites were led out of Egypt, it says in Exodus 12:38 that a mixed multitude went out with them. This means that there were many gentiles (people who were not born into the nation of Israel) who left Egypt and joined themselves to Israel because they saw the miracles that God did and they wanted to follow him.
When God gives his instructions at the base of Mt. Sinai, these gentiles were present. Leviticus 24:22, Exodus 12:49, and Numbers 15:16 all state that the same laws apply to both the native born and to foreigners who sojourn among Israel.
Ecclesiastes 12:13 also clues us in that God's laws as defined in the Torah are for everyone who seeks to obey him, not just native born Israelites: "The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of mankind."
The Christian church did not replace Israel...
Gentile followers of Jesus have been joined to Israel and are adopted as native born citizens. Israel is the "church" and if we want to be a part of the church, we must be grafted into Israel to share in their promises (Romans 11:11-31).
If you moved to Mexico you wouldn't continue to obey the laws of the U.S., you would abide by the laws of the land you now live in. In the same way, we have been adopted into the Kingdom of God (Ephesians 1:5) and obey the laws of the land as an expression of our faith in Jesus.
Check out this video for more on this topic.
Did Jesus set us free from the law?
A common argument you'll hear in the Christian church is that Jesus came to set us free from the law. He lived the law perfectly so that we don't have to- because it's impossible for anyone to obey the law like he did.
However, God says in Deuteronomy 30 that the law is for our good. Obeying the law brings blessings and life, and disobeying the law brings curses and death. He says that the law isn't too hard for us, and that it's very near to us so that we can do it. This idea is reiterated in 1 John 5:3, "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome."
Galatians 3:13-14 says, "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith."
Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the law. He didn't redeem us from the law itself.
Check out this video for a great commentary on the book of Galatians that explores this concept more thoroughly.
Are there examples of believers obeying Torah in the New Testament?
There sure are! :) Make sure to grab your Bible and read these passages as you go along.
Peter was still eating clean years after the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 10:14).
Paul brings a sacrifice to the temple to prove he was not breaking the Torah or teaching against it. If he was just doing it to please the people that were opposing him, that would be extremely deceptive of him. (Acts 21:17-26)
"Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." 1 Corinthians 5:8
In Acts 15:21 they determine that the gentiles should start with obeying 4 things, as to not overwhelm them. Sanctification isn't an overnight process. This list doesn't include other things that are obviously against God's heart. They are saying, start with these four things and you'll learn the rest when you are meeting weekly on the Sabbath to hear Moses preached.
In Matthew 23:1-4 Jesus tells his followers to obey what the Pharisees say, but not to do as they do. He does this because they are preaching Moses (Torah), but they are not obeying it. They are obeying their own traditions instead.
In Luke 16:19-31 Jesus tells a parable about a rich man and Lazarus. The moral of the story is that it is important to listen to Moses and the prophets.
If Jesus' and the disciples had one definition of sin and repentance their whole ministry, why would that change without notice upon the death and resurrection of Jesus? How did they define sin? Here are some passages to explore:
1 John 3:4
2 Timothy 3:10-17
1 Corinthians 7:19
Do Paul's writings say we shouldn't obey the law?
It becomes difficult to reconcile the belief that Paul taught against the law in light of passages like this:
"And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the >>> error of lawless people <<< and lose your own stability. " 2 Peter 3:15-17
"Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law." -Paul (Romans 3:31)
imitate me as I imitate Christ...
Check out this video series on Paul for more on this topic.
What would Jesus do?
When I first started studying this topic, I went to the gospels and read through them to see what Jesus had to say about the Torah. I found that he never taught against it or disobeyed it. The times it looks like he is disobeying it he is actually disobeying the man made laws that the religious leaders of his day had added on to the law of God. They were forsaking the commandments of God for traditions of man- much like the Christian church is doing today (Mark 7:1-23).
It makes no sense that Jesus would live his whole life in obedience to the law, and teach people to obey the law, and then completely change his mind after his death and resurrection without any warning. The truth is that he was Torah observant then, and he will be Torah observant when he returns. He will be our Torah observant King.
"Whoever claims to live in him, must walk as Jesus walked." 1 John 2:6
"“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:17-20
Jesus says that the smallest part of the law will not be loosened until heaven and Earth pass away. When we step outside, we see that heaven and earth have not passed away. This is important because when God gave the Torah to Israel at Mt. Sinai, it was a wedding ceremony. In Exodus 19:8 the nation of Israel says "I do" to the terms of the marriage covenant between them and their Creator. God calls Heaven and Earth to be a witness to this covenant.
"I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live," Deuteronomy 30:19
If the smallest part of the law will not pass away until heaven and Earth do, when will that happen?
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more." Revelation 21:1
It won't happen until Jesus returns.
The following verse is often used to claim that Jesus abolished the law once and for all:
“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” Romans 10:4
Our English Bibles have been translated from the original Hebrew and Greek texts. These languages have words that can mean more than one thing. When someone translates a Bible into English they choose what translation seems best to them. This decision is often clouded by their own theological bias. For example, the word in Romans 10:4 used for "end" is "telos" in Greek. According to Strongs Concordance this word can also mean "the principal end, aim, or purpose". If a translator believes the law is irrelevant, of course he would translate it this way. And yet, that doesn't mean it's an accurate representation of Paul's words. Romans 3:31 gives us an idea of what Paul thought about the law, “Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.”
In order to be consistent with the context of Paul's writings, a more accurate translation of Romans 10:4 would be, "For Christ is the aim of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes."
Jesus is the goal of the law; he is an exact replica of what the law teaches. He obeyed it perfectly, and it is our job to do our best to walk as he walked.
What about the new covenant?
That leads us to the new covenant. Most Christians would say that we are now in the new covenant, which is why we don't need to obey the law anymore. It seems the scriptures say otherwise.
One of the only explicit prophecies of the new covenant found in the Old Testament is in Jeremiah 31:31-40. It reads:
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
Thus says the Lord,
who gives the sun for light by day
and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night,
who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—
the Lord of hosts is his name:
“If this fixed order departs
from before me, declares the Lord,
then shall the offspring of Israel cease
from being a nation before me forever.”
Thus says the Lord:
“If the heavens above can be measured,
and the foundations of the earth below can be explored,
then I will cast off all the offspring of Israel
for all that they have done,
declares the Lord.”
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when the city shall be rebuilt for the Lord from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. And the measuring line shall go out farther, straight to the hill Gareb, and shall then turn to Goah. The whole valley of the dead bodies and the ashes, and all the fields as far as the brook Kidron, to the corner of the Horse Gate toward the east, shall be sacred to the Lord. It shall not be plucked up or overthrown anymore forever.”
Both the old and new covenants revolve around the law. In the new covenant, the law will be written on our hearts. That means we will know it so well that we won't be breaking it anymore. Do you think God would only write part of the law on our hearts? Or does it make more sense that he would write the whole law, since that is the context of Jeremiah 31?
It says that when the new covenant comes to pass, nobody will require teachers anymore. Everyone will understand truth and live it out appropriately. That is significant because we still have teachers today. So I would venture to say that we are not fully living in the new covenant yet.
Hebrews 7:22 says, "This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant."
Jesus has promised us a better covenant. He has guaranteed it like a bondsman. Those of us who follow him are getting a foretaste of the new covenant by having a relationship with him, but it won't be fully realized until he returns.
Now read Hebrews chapter 8.
It quotes Jeremiah 31. The only fault of the first covenant was the people who broke it. The new covenant will be better because the law will be written on our hearts and no one will break the law anymore.
"In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away." Hebrews 8:13
The old covenant is becoming obsolete in the sense that certain parts of the Torah will no longer have any application when it is written upon our hearts. For example, certain sacrifices will fade away because people will not be sinning anymore.
Jesus has initiated the new covenant, and it will come to fruition when he returns and the law is written on our hearts.
Also, take special note that both the old and new covenants are with Israel. So if we want to take part in their covenant we have to be grafted in. We do this by believing in Yeshua and obeying his word.
How does the law connect with the mark of the beast?
We can't say for sure, but what if the mark of the Beast is disobedience to the Torah?
"Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name." Revelation 13:16-17
God uses the same verbiage when talking about obeying his commandments.
"And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes." Deuteronomy 6:6-8
“You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes." Deuteronomy 11:18
"And the LORD said to him, “Pass through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it.” Ezekiel 9:4
"No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads." Revelation 22:3-4
Will we choose to obey God's commandments? Or those of Babylon?
What role does the law have in the coming Kingdom of God?
When asked how we should pray, part of Jesus' response is that we should pray for God's Kingdom to come, and his will to be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. When we live in obedience to the Torah in this life, we are not only expressing our love for God and Jesus (John 14:21), we are agreeing with God's master plan and ushering in His Kingdom. In His Kingdom, the Torah is the law of the land. The scriptures tell us that in the end times, many gentiles will begin to live in obedience to the Torah.
"And many nations shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem." Micah 4:2
"And many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem." Isaiah 2:3
"Thus says the LORD of hosts: In those days ten men from the nations of every tongue shall take hold of the robe of a Jew, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’” Zechariah 8:23
"Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths. And if any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them." Zechariah 14:16-17
Jesus talks a lot about the Kingdom of God. But it seems we fail to realize what a kingdom actually looks like though because monarchies are not common and we take for granted just laws that make everything work. But what kind of kingdom would it be if it didn't have law and order? Torah provides that for us. It teaches us how to love God and love others. Without it, society would crumble.
Torah is the best way to live, as defined by our Creator (Deuteronomy 30). It's not about hate or being burdensome, it's about life and love.
"For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome." 1 John 5:3
The thing we are taught in Christianity is that it's either law or grace, law or gospel. But the Bible says it's both. The Christian church taught me to hate God's laws. There are just over 600 laws that God gives us. We have hundreds of thousands of laws in the U.S. and yet nobody complains about following those. Also, not all laws apply to everybody. A portion is just for Levitical priests, another is just for farmers, and another is just for how to deal with mold in your house, etc.
Becoming a citizen of the U.S. requires more work than becoming a citizen of the Kingdom of God. For the U.S. you have to take a citizenship test and some other legalities. With the kingdom of God you just have to believe in Jesus and what he's done for us. In both examples we aren't able to just live as we please. If we want to be good citizens of these places, we will have to abide by the laws of the land. Since we can obey man-made laws of the countries we live in, how much more can we obey the perfect law of freedom (Psalm 119:45)?
We need both faith and obedience. And if we all have a different standard for what obedience looks like, (there are thousands and thousands of different Christian denominations) it's a mess. When we let God decide what obedience looks like, things make sense.
"Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus." Revelation 14:12
In the new Jerusalem, there will only be 12 gates into the city, one gate for each tribe of Israel. So it appears we have to be grafted into a tribe in order to get into the city. I'm guessing we, as gentiles, will be assigned a tribe when Jesus returns.
"It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed—" Revelation 21:12
If anything here has sparked a hunger in your heart for more, we have an invitation for you! If you think we might be onto something with this whole Torah thing, read through it (the first five books of the bible) and take note of commandments you have been told are irrelevant. Then read the gospels and take a note of every time it looks like Jesus is teaching against or breaking the torah. Once you have a list written down, dig a little deeper to discern whether he was breaking a law of God or man. You might be surprised what you find! :)
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